As I shared a couple of days ago, there were 30 murders of LGBT Americans in 2011. That was the highest yearly number ever. It was an increase of 11% from 2010.
Yesterday I tried to connect some faces...some lives...with those numbers. But I only could do the first 10 murders of 2011 without going a little nutso...and making the diary much too long.
This diary will consist of murders 11 through 20.
June 6 -- Karlota Gómez Sánchez, San Juan, PR
Karlota Gómez Sánchez, a 19 year-old transwoman, was found shot to death at an intersection in the Santurce section of SanJuan. She was the 17th Puerto Rican murdered in 18 months and the second in three days. A police official identified the deceased by a male name and misgendered the victim. Karlota was apparently called over to a car, approached the vehicle and was shot three times.
It is imperative that in this case the authorities follow Attorney General Obdulio Meléndez’s order that prosecutors investigate the hate angle in all crimes committed against any member of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and transgender communities. On the other hand, we have to elevate our voices on what is clearly an epidemic of homophobic and transphobic violence.June 7 -- Ramón Salgado, Humacao, PR
--Pedro Julio Serrano, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
Ramón "Moncho" Salgado, a 46 year-old gay man, was found dead along a highway in Humacao. He was the victim of blunt force trauma. He was the 18th LGBT Puerto Rican to be killed in 18 months and the third in 4 days.
Salgado's body was found in a vacant field at the edge of highway PR-3. His belongings were not taken.
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force stands in solidarity with the LGBT community in Puerto Rico and sends its deepest condolences to the families and friends of Karlota Gómez Sánchez, Ramón Salgado and Alejandro Torres Torres. As someone who grew up in Puerto Rico and has been very active in its LGBT community, this is a heart-wrenching moment. Our thoughts and sympathies go out to all of the victims’ loved ones at this difficult time. Justice must prevail. This is about members of the Puerto Rican LGBT community feeling safe in their communities and being able to take care of the ones they love. We call upon the authorities and political leaders to effectively address this epidemic of anti-LGBT violence. This must stop now.LGBT activists called on authorities to investigate these crimes as hate crimes. Anti-gay forces responded by trying to remove mention of LGBT people from hate crimes laws.
--Pedro Julie Serrano, NGLTF
June 13 --Nathan Eugene (Miss Nate Nate) Davis, Houston, TX
Nathan Eugene Davis, 44, known to his friends as Miss Nate Nate, was shot in the head and the body was disposed of behind a dumpster. The transwoman was described by the media as "a cross-dressing male prostitute". The media also felt it necessary to say that the body was in a red dress, makeup and a wig when it was found.
The local and regional media, picking up on the misreporting of the Houston Police as to the gender identity of the victim, have mis-identified Ms. Davis as a “man.” For years, Ms. Davis chose to identify herself as a female, and lived her life accordingly. Police are calling her a sex worker. Most news stories reflect the none-too-sublte bias of law enforcement officers and media professionals, that the life choices, dress, and habits of the victim somehow explain why and how this crime happened. The transphobia embedded in the culture often comes to the fore in such critical moments, when the character and legitimacy of whole populations of trans people are called into question by the dominant culture. Ms. Davis was described by local merchants as “respectful,”"nice,” and “courteous.”July 20 -- Lashai McLean, Washington, DC
Lashai, 20, was walking with another transwoman in the northeast part of DC when they had words with two men. One of the men pulled a gun and fired. McLean fell to the ground, dead.
It was the beginning of a long and violent summer for transwomen in the nation's capital.
Basically, he said that God let her get killed so that people could get saved. And that came after somebody, I think it was a deacon, said when you live a certain lifestyle this is the consequence you have to pay.Reverend A. W. Montgomery, Sr also repeatedly referred to McLean as "he" during the service.
--Sampson McCormack, gay activist
August 7 -- Jason Larabie, Plattsburgh, NY
Jason Larabie worked at a grocery store and was also a substitute teacher.
Jason went for a walk early one day. The day did not end up going well.
Dustin Hill engaged Larabie in conversation and then attacked him. He continued to choke him until Larabie stopped breathing. Some reports say that they engaged in oral sex before Hill punched Larabie in the face and strangled him before stealing 5 dollars from Larabie's wallet.
A friend made a video tribute:
August 20 -- Marcellus Andrews, Waterloo, IA
The incident was never labeled a gay bashing or a hate crime. Some of his family members claimed he was merely effeminate, not gay. But the group of people who assaulted Marcellus still called him "faggot", whether he was gay or not.
Paris Akeem Anding, 19, was eventually arrested in the case on charges of second-degree murder.
September 10 -- Gaurav Gopolan, Washington, DC
Gaurav's body was found abandoned on a sidewalk in Washington, DC.
I covered the story of Garauv Gopolan last September in An experiment that went awry. I can't do better than that.
September 17 -- Gumaro Chavez, Chicago, IL
Gumaro Chavez went out to the Chicago bar, La Cueva, in the Chicago neighborhood of Little Village. The bar was known to be a frequented by transgender people. Two women enticed him into their car. Their accomplices then approached the car, dragged Gumaro from it, and began beating him. Jesus Cabrales pulled out a knife and began stabbing Gumaro. A witness observed Victor Redding and Cabrales disposing of evidence (the murder weapon and clothing, which was recovered).
Chavez was dead when police arrived on the scene. The incident was caught on video surveillance. A total of 5 people were arrested in the murder.
September 24 -- Unknown, Highland Park, MI
The body of an unknown African-American transgender woman was found burned post-mortem in a building in Highland Park, MI. She had been murdered and then her body transported to the location where police found her. The cause and manner of death are unknown. In media reports, the police described that most of the body was burned beyond recognition, that they knew that the body belonged to a person who was “biologically male,” but the only identifiable clothing were the victim’s shoes (women’s shoes). This is also an area frequently known for LGBTQ sex work, and is near the Ruth Ellis Center. The body was never identified.
October 23 -- Shelley Hilliard, Detroit, MI
On October 20, Michele (Shelley) Hilliard was arrested for possession of pot. Police offered to give her a pass if she helped them set up a sting.
With police listening in, she called Qasim Raqib and told him that she had a buyer who wanted $335 worth of cocaine and weed. Raqib was arrested at the arranged meeting place. Several hours later, Raqib was released.
Shelley Hilliard went missing on October 23. That same day, police found burning body parts near I-94. Shelley was last seen by a taxi driver who dropped her off near a friend's residence. Three men grabbed her, kidnapped her, tortured her, burned her while she was still alive and eventually decapitated her. Her body was only identified through tattoos.